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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Exposure priceless for many

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Even at 6 feet 5 and 230 pounds, Kapa'a High School senior Sean Shigematsu could have easily gone unnoticed by college football recruiters.

Playing on a 1-6-1 team in a three-team league on the state's fourth-most populated island, Shigematsu might have been at risk of falling through the cracks as big-name programs cherry-picked prospects from higher-profile schools.

But after emerging as one of the top offensive tackles during this week's nationally renowned All Poly Camp at Kapi'olani Park, Shigematsu is a stranger to no one.

"A guy like that probably would have had to wait until his (game) film came out (in the fall) for anyone to see him," said camp founder/organizer Alema Te'o. "But after this, I'm sure he'll walk out of here with his name on at least six or seven recruiting boards."

That is why Shigematsu and about a dozen of his Kapa'a teammates, plus many other Neighbor Island players, made the hop over to O'ahu for the All Poly Camp, which was held in Hawai'i for the first time after eight highly successful years in Utah.

While top recruits like Kahuku linebacker VJ Fehoko and Leilehua quarterback Andrew Manley are household names and have already received strong NCAA Division I interest after two years of prime time media exposure, kids from smaller programs — especially from the Neighbor Islands — viewed the All Poly Camp as a rare opportunity to share the spotlight.

Kealakehe and Konawaena each was represented by about five players, and kids from Kaua'i High, Waiakea and Kamehameha's Hawai'i and Maui campuses also made their presence known.

"It's wide open, and we wanted to see what the competition from the other islands is like," said Shigematsu, who like most of his Kapa'a teammates was attending an O'ahu camp for the first time. "I'm thankful I got to see what I could do against guys from other teams. We brought offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers ... I thought we did pretty good."

Shigematsu said the college coaches at the camp taught him to "be explosive, to get after it," and also stressed the importance of academics.

He said he has received some early interest from the University of Hawai'i, Portland State, Wyoming and Utah State.

"I just want to get a scholarship, anywhere, to be honest," Shigematsu said. "I just want to get a free education."

Kapa'a offensive line coach Dean Petro, who accompanied the group to Honolulu, said if Shigematsu receives the kind of scholarship offers he expects, others could follow for his younger teammates.

"This is a great group — after our spring game, we gave them three weeks off to rest, but the next week they asked me if I could come back and coach them during the break," Petro said. "Hopefully this (All Poly Camp) gave them some exposure, because I think all of them have a chance to play in college. If (Shigematsu) gets that one shot, that one break, then it might open the door for the rest of them."

Continue at HA

All Poly All-Stars
Respective position coaches awarded their top players at the camp's conclusion:

  • QUARTERBACKS: Andrew Manley, Leilehua; Noah Pascua, Kapolei.
  • RUNNING BACKS: Jarrin Inagaki, Kaiser; Keaka Fernandez, Kapolei; Chris Reed, Honoka'a.
  • RECEIVERS: Samson Anguay, Campbell; Corey Lau, Kailua; Elijah Tagura, Kapolei.
  • OFFENSIVE TACKLES: Paulay Asiata, Word of Life; Jamal Napeahi, Kahuku; Sean Shigematsu, Kapa'a.
  • GUARDs: Paul Belford, Kapolei; Keli'i Kekuewa, Kamehameha-Hawai'i; Alex Paiva, Kapolei.
  • CENTER: Jase To'omalatai, Kahuku.
  • TIGHT END: Richard Villasenor, Moanalua.
  • DEFENSIVE TACKLEs: Lawrence Lagafuaina, 'Aiea; Handsome Tanielu, Wai'anae; Beau Yap, Kamehameha.
  • DEFENSIVE ENDs: Sani Fuimaono, Punahou; Graham Rowley, Waialua; Isaac Seumalo, Corvallis (Ore.).
  • LINEBACKERs: Shaydon Akuna, Kapolei; VJ Fehoko, Kahuku; Valentine Kanehailua, Pac-Five; Tu'u Lolohea, Kapolei; Andrew Morgan, Damien; Samson Toalei, Liberty (Las Vegas).
  • CORNERBACKS: Ikaika Kamaka, Radford; Chris Santiago, Saint Louis.
  • SAFETIES: Taz Stevenson, Mililani; Marcus Umu, Saint Louis.
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